The Honourable Deb Matthews to present 6th Annual Stand Up For Kids Award to local psychiatrist and child advocate



    
    Award recognizes local residents who take action against child abuse and
    neglect
    

    TORONTO, Oct. 29 /CNW/ - Veteran child psychiatrist, Dr. Jim Wilkes, will
be recognized today for his significant contribution to protecting children
and youth from abuse and neglect. The sixth annual Stand Up for Kids Award,
sponsored by the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS), Children's
Aid Society of Toronto (CAST), Jewish Family and Child Service, and Native
Child and Family Services of Toronto, will be presented to Dr. Wilkes today by
the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth Services, as part
of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The award will be presented today at Queen's
Park in Committee, Room 230 at 12:30 p.m.
    A medical practitioner and Child Psychiatrist for 52 and 45 years
respectively, Dr. Wilkes has helped thousands of Toronto children overcome the
trauma of abuse and neglect, provided case advice to Children's Aid Society
workers for more than three decades and has been a leading advocate for the
safety and well-being of children through improvements to Child Welfare policy
and legislation.
    "I congratulate Dr. Wilkes for his perseverance, dedication and
selflessness in helping those whose voices are not always heard," said Deb
Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth Services. "Child Abuse Prevention
Month is an important time to recognize the commitment and excellent work of
individuals and organizations, and reminds us that we all have a
responsibility to protect our children."
    As an advisor to the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS)
and the Children's Aid Society of Toronto for the past 30 years, Dr. Wilkes
has been a mentor to workers in their case practice. His weekly CCAS service
consultations still continue today.
    "Dr. Wilkes' passion for the rights of children has profoundly influenced
the quality of our social work practice," says Mary McConville, Executive
Director, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto. "Through his "Truth or
Consequence" training sessions, Dr. Wilkes has inspired us to help children
understand their past history and gain greater strength in coping with their
struggles. I recall the impact he had on our workers and his compassion in
explaining to five children in care, that their mother was dying, and how he
also helped the foster parents support the children through this tragedy,"
adds Ms. McConville.
    David Rivard, Executive Director, Children's Aid Society of Toronto
agrees that Dr. Wilkes has been a driving force for the rights and well being
of children in our community and is well deserving of the award. "There are
few other individuals who have had such a profound influence on how we work
with families and plan for children, including being one of the major
contributors to how child access visits happen," he adds. "Child access has
increasingly been viewed as a valuable mechanism to assist parents in
improving their skills in interacting with their children and in helping us to
gauge their progress."
    Dr. Wilkes has been a member of the Sparrow Lake Alliance, an
organization that brings together individuals from all sectors and disciplines
to inspire, support, teach and learn from each other in order to promote a
better life for children. His leadership in the Sparrow Lake Alliances'
"Children In Limbo Task Force" focused on the need to put the child's needs
first and has led to many positive changes in the Child Welfare System, public
policy and legislation.
    Sponsored by Toronto's Children's Aid Societies, the Stand Up for Kids
Award is part of the province's October Child Abuse Prevention Month and the
Use Your Voice (UYV) awareness campaigns. The UYV campaign features newspaper,
magazine, outdoor, digital, radio and TTC ads, along with ads placed in
selected healthcare waiting rooms, a PSA and an online resource,
www.useyourvoice.ca. The campaign website provides information about the signs
and indicators of physical, sexual and emotional abuse including neglect, and
how to contact a local Children's Aid Society.

    Over the past year, Toronto Children's Aid Societies have investigated
more than 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, and provided care
for more than 40,000 area children.





For further information:

For further information: Rob Thompson, Director, Communications,
Children's Aid Society of Toronto, (416) 924-4646 ext. 2086,
rthompson@torontocas.ca; Anne Rappé, Manager, Communications, Catholic
Children's Aid Society of Toronto, (416) 395-1506, a.rappe@torontoccas.org

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Children's Aid Society of Toronto

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